I am a long time user of Windows Mobile and I sync all my contacts and calendar appointments using ActiveSync with Outlook on my home PC.  These are all my personal contacts and personal appointments. It is a version of Outlook that is not connected to an Exchange server and is not tied to work.  Over the years this has been a rock solid back up for my contacts and appointments and, as I have moved from phone to phone, ActiveSync has always been perfect for getting all these contacts on to a new device.

So, when I got a Windows Phone 7, I needed to get all my contacts (phone numbers, etc.) and appointments on to the device.  But Windows Phone 7 doesn’t support ActiveSync. So what to do?

[UPDATED 11/18/2010 -- Another way to do this is using the Microsoft Office Outlook Hotmail Connector. That doesn't exactly sync your contacts/calendar, but allows you to drag and drop items from one place to the other.]

My initial searches for this on the web were suggesting that Google was the answer. But I didn’t want to use Google to sync my contacts and appointments.

The solution I found was to use Hotmail/Windows Live.  I was able to export my contacts and appointments out of Outlook and put them into Hotmail/Windows Live and then sync them to the device. Here’s how:

Contacts

Step 1 – Export To .CSV

Getting your contacts out of Outlook 2003 or Outlook 2007 and into a .cvs works as follows:

  1. In Outlook, on the File menu, click Import and Export.
  2. Click Export to a file, and then click Next.
  3. Click Comma Separated Values (Windows), and then click Next.
  4. In the folder list, click the Contacts folder, and then click Next.
  5. Browse to the folder where you want to save the contacts as a .csv file.
  6. Type a name for the exported file, and then click OK.
  7. Click Next.
  8. Click Finish.

In Outlook 2010, it is a little more buried:

  1. Click the File tab.
  2. Click Options.
  3. Click Advanced.

Advanced command in the Outlook Options dialog box

  1. Under Export, click Export.

Export command in the Backstage view

  1. In the Import and Export Wizard, click Export to a file, and then click Next.
  2. Under Create a file of type, click the type of export that you want, and then click Next. The most common is Comma Separated Values (Windows), also known as a CSV file.

Step 2 – Import to Windows Live Hotmail

  1. Sign into Windows Live Hotmail.
  2. Click Contacts.
  3. Click Manage/Import
  4. Navigate to the .csv

You’re done!  To force your Windows phone to sync, go to settings, Email and Accounts and then press and hold the Windows Live account. It will display an option to Sync.

Calendar

Unfortunately, Hotmail doesn’t allow you to do a bulk import of appointments.  Fortunately, I only had a smattering of appointments that I wanted to get copied on to my Windows Phone 7, so it wasn’t too painful to export each one individually and then import it into the Hotmail/Windows Live calendar.

Step 1 Export To .ICS

  1. Open the appointment that you want to export.
  2. Click “Save As” and make sure you are saving in the iCalendar format

 

Step 2 Import to Windows Live Hotmail

  1. Sign into Window Live Hotmail
  2. Click Calendar
  3. Click Subscribe (which turns out to be Subscribe/Import”)
  4. Change the radio button to Import. Also be sure to change the radio button to import into an existing calendar. One gotcha to watch out for is that, when you import an appointment into the Hotmail/Windows Live calendar, it tries to create a new calendar very annoying. You have to manually change the dropdown to your default calendar:

calendar

Unfortunately you’ll have to do this for each appointment you want to get into your Windows Phone.

Again, to force your Windows phone to sync, go to settings, Email and Accounts and then press and hold the Windows Live account. It will display an option to Sync.